Sunday, April 25, 2010

Our Playground

The coast isn´t only for summertime! (Vardø)
One of the boys´more expensive toys.

Can´t leave the baby out of the adventure.

Trampolines aren´t only for summertime either! In their snowsuits!

A hike and some very organic swords.

I am quite insistant when it comes to the boys being outside everyday. Fresh air, exercise, and vitamin D. The great outdoors has been our playground.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Laughing Day

I always make this face when I play with Legos!

I´m the tough one- Monster Garage cap and Tigger the Tiger shirt!

I am the baby and can do no wrong! I´m almost always this happy!

I have a friend Vona who is a wonderful mama to 2 boys under 4. And they have Laughing Days. That means that Mama decides to not get upset, but laugh at anything that happens all day! Me, I´m always drowning in my self-criticism, anger, impatience, etc. And many mornings I wake up frustrated and try to cheer myself/all of us up in order to have a Laughing Day but I just can´t let things go that easily. However, Sunday we had an unofficial Laughing Day (thanks Sara!).

First, let me say that Ben was gone Friday to Monday on a boy´s trip to Murmansk, Russia (which would be the equivalent of going to Tiajuana, if you know what I mean). That is fine though, I´ve gotten some trips too. Anyways, being solely responsible for all 3 kids for a number of days does not always bring out the best in me! On Friday Tiago refused to nap which ruins any day! and on Saturday, for some reason, I thought taking all 3 kids, plus Phoenix´s friend, ice fishing would be a good idea! Ok, it took like 2 hours to get everyone ready! It was cold, windy and I was crabby after taking 2 hours to get ready! And Tiago would not let me put him down for a second without screaming! And the smoke from the fire kept blowing in our faces, Phoenix and Rio just kept interrupting the ice fishing (we were with a group of adults) and throwing snow in their holes, get the picture. Finally, through clenched teeth, I said, "After we´re done eating these hot dogs we´re leaving!". It was an exhausting day and I fell asleep with the kids at 8pm.

After all that fresh air on Saturday I did not feel guilty staying inside Sunday and watching cartoons all morning. We painted and played with play-doh too. We just hung out. It was great. The unofficial LAUGHING DAY started when in the evening we walked to a party. The sun was shining and it was a BALMY 4C/45F! My boys were in their snowsuits, matching striped "summer" hats (really thin winter hats) and snow boots. But there was a lot of ice on the road and they kept slipping and sliding on their butts and they were just so clumsy and I laughed and laughed at them! (Cruel, I know!) But they just kept doing it! We all laughed! They found puddles to jump in too. My boys are also funny because when they hear a car they freeze and start waving at the car for like a minute before the car even drives by. It is so cute! At the party we sat with another mom, who´s husband was out at sea, and her 3 girls. So we were 2 adults and 6 kids! Phoenix and Rio of course spend most of the party touching all the desserts. Actually, Phoenix likes to put his WHOLE HAND on cakes, not just a single finger! Ok, I didn´t laugh at that one! We saw an army tank and I kept saluting and saying silly stuff like, "Sir, yes, sir", and they thought I was hilarious! We just laughed about everything that evening, even when Rio told me he ate horse poop!

Life isn´t perfect but it would be closer to perfect if we had more Laughing Days!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Elin´s passing

Elin committed suicide and was buried on Tuesday. I didn´t really know Elin. She was Ben´s dad´s youngest brother´s ex. They had two daughters together. I remember that she wore a red velvet dress to our wedding and that her ex´s toast to us was, "Don´t Marry, Be Happy"! She didn´t have the best reputation according to the family. I think that if you met her in a bar you´d say, "That b#$%& is crazy" and stop talking to her, especially if she was under the influence. Her two children were actually wards of the state, taken away from her by DCFS/barnevern.

Yet I have been so touched by her death. Each time I am reminded it brings a deep sadness to my heart and nearly tears to my eyes. It is so terrible that she believed that this world would be better off without her, no one would care that she was gone, that her daughters would be better off without a mother, that she thought she was so worthless that she actually went through with it. Or who knows the lies that she told herself and believed.

But I GET IT. I get those thoughts. Since the birth of my third son I feel like I have been living in a black hole of despair. I mean it. It has sucked big time. When I visited my friends in Tromsø and I later heard that they were "worried" about me I told that they had reason to be. I really GET why people cut or become bulimic, why Britney Spears shaved her head and why people don´t ask for help (OH WAIT...THEY USUALLY DO BUT PEOPLE DON´T LISTEN, THEY JUST GIVE THEIR OWN ADVICE!...ok, the capital letters makes it sound like I´m really angry at someone but this is a reminder to myself as well as others that we could all be better at listening and affirming.)

So while I GET IT, I haven´t cut, thrown up or shaved my head or committed suicide, like Elin. It saddens me that while we were both mothers, both with struggles, that I am the only one still living.

Edited: Sorry if I alarmed anyone. With the return of the sun, good friends and God´s grace, I now see past the despair. Although like many of us, I still have my days! This post was really about how my experiences have allowed to be more empathetic.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Dots, No Dots"

Ok, so I know that he really just says "N...Dah" and "Ya...Dah" but I still think this is a HUGE deal!!! He´s actually communicating using spoken language! And I wasn´t even trying to get him to say anything. We were just separating the puzzle pieces and often times I DO say "Dots, No Dots" but this time I didn´t so HE DID!!! I have noticed so many more "words" this week including green truck, toot toot chugga chugga and shake. This is soooooooo exciting!!!

I have recently started using strategies from the book Play to Talk. For example, I talk a lot LESS and WAIT a lot longer for him to respond in any verbal way, then I imitate his response and try to keep the dialogue going as long as possible. I must admit, it is so FUN because he loves that I "speak" his language and it allows him opportunities to practice verbalizing and learns that making sounds gets a reaction. I highly recommend this book because the strategies are easily adaptable and its all about respecting where you´re child is at instead of constantly thinking about where they SHOULD be. Check out the website.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Famous Phoenix

by Gøran Nielsen

by Inge Wahl

The local papparazzi are always after Phoenix! And I LOVE IT! These are just two of the photos I recently received! I think both are great photographers but it does help when the subject is my beautiful Phoenix! Wherever we go people I don´t even know say, "Hi Phoenix!"- the grocery store, the swimming pool, a local event, EVERYWHERE. He was even invited to a cabin for spring break while the rest of us stayed back in town! Yup, he´s famous (at least in this tiny, isolated, depopulated fishing village on the edge of the earth in arctic Norway)!